Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
In honor of those lost, injured or present at Pearl Harbor 69 years ago today, I want to know more than the basic facts. Before looking into the events of the day I know that it was a surprise attack by the Japanese that happened on December 7, 1941. Congress voted for war with Japan on December 8, 1941, launching us into WWII. Let's jump in!
Some Facts about the events of the day:
* Pearl Harbor is the Naval Base for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Pearl Harbor is the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
* Pearl Harbor has 10 square miles of navigable water. The harbour is on the southern coast of Oahu. The harbour is artificially improved.
* A U.S. embargo on necessary supplies for war prompted the attack on Pearl Harbor.
* A U.S. Army private who noticed the large flight of planes on his radar screen was told to ignore them because a flight of B-17s from the continental U.S. was expected at the time.
* The Japanese attack force was under the command of Admiral Nagumo. Japansese force consisted of six carriers with 423 planes. The Japanese fleet had 30 ships. The Japanese Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku planned the attack with great care.
* At 6 a.m. the first Japanese attack wave of 83 planes took off. The air raid lasted until about 9:45 a.m.
* Three prime targets escaped damage, the U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, the Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga. They were not in the port when the attack took place. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked.
* Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and all of the four other battleships present were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded.
* Japanese losses were light, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.
* On December 8, 1941, Congress declared war on Japan with only one vote against it. The vote against it was of Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, who had also voted against U.S. entry into World War I.
* A white concrete and steel structure now spans the hull of the sunken ship as a memorial. The memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1962.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I could blame lily, she hasn't found a spot to be comfortable all night. She needed to go out so dang early. I had already been fighting a world class headache so we got up at 515 and I let her out and took some excedrine. Then we laid back down. Then it started, out of nowhere.
Curling up in the Left side of my head I had this flash of pinching mike up at the airport. Just the regular pick ups. He would always check his bag so when I met him in baggage claim he'd just come walking down the stairs with nothing but a big smile, haha. I always miss him but haven't felt the strong need to see him like I did at that moment. I was overwhelmed, laying in Bed in tears, convincing myself that this would not help my (usually stress triggered) headache.
I used to talk to him all the time. I still talk to him a lot but I mean it used to be all the time. I said to him, i just miss you. I'm ok, but man do I miss you. Please know that I always miss you, your warmth, your blue eyes, your smile. You're an amazing person and I knew that before you were gone. Now we get the chance to make sure as many people as possible know that the world was better because you were in it. Not just my world, the whole world.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I haven't decorated for Christmas since the first Christmas Mike was deployed. I decorated so that I could take pictures and send them to him. This year I have been compelled by some of the people closest to me to decorate, just a little at a time. Yesterday I got a little done, and it has been a nice adjustment because in the process I also have to clean up the house. A little 2-for-1 there.
The staircase (kind of a work in progress)
I think one of my widow friends put it perfectly. She said that she was always in love with Christmastime. Last year was her first Christmas without her husband and it was so close to his death she didn't even want to think about it. This year she's decided that the way her husband used to make fun of her for getting so excited about Christmas was one of the many ways he showed his love for her, and because he loved that about her, she would continue to be that way. It's a great thing to remember how to be yourself, the "you" that drew in your mate, and be able to embrace that again :)
This year's Thanksgiving was different from the last few I've had. I remember getting ready before we were about to eat and taking a minute to absorb that the weight of grief wasn't there. Not at that moment. I just felt nice, solid happiness. I told myself to just feel it. I teared up at the overwhelming thought that this was actually possible when for so long it felt like it could never be, or that I didn't want it. I miss him, but I know he's proud and happy that I am able to be happy. That is an understanding between us. So this year's Thanksgiving was filled with story telling, food, laughter, sunshine, football, red wine, wii bowling, happiness, remembering, missing my family, shopping, German beer, and some happy downtime.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
First, today is the last day to vote for my friend and founder of the American Widow Project, Taryn Davis for L'Oreals women of worth competition. The winner will receive $25,000. For the AWP this would be amazing and help to cover the costs of the events we do, help them happen more often, help fun more information packets and DVDs of tge documentary be sent to new military widows. I know there are many of you who follow who are part of a military family and you can understand and appreciate the importance of reaching out to the countries military widows and widowers. Take a min to vote, it just needs your email, and share with family and friends who understand as well. http://www.womenofworth.com/Honorees/Honoree2010Detail.aspx?nomid=d31a0c41-702c-4948-84f1-b0825af540aa
Thank you to those who have voted already from the millions of Facebook messages, emailed etc. And I've gotten so many comments back from emails, yes Taryn is gorgeous ;)
Keeping with the Thanksgiving spirit, I'd like to do a little shout out to some things I'm thankful for this year that I didn't have last year. Taryn, above, and Tatiana, Allison, Kim, TT, Tabatha, Mara, Glenda, LaNita, Brooke, Danielle, Candice, Mandy, Laura, Casie, and All the widows I've personally met in the last year- I am immeasurably thankful for the things you've taught me, given me, and shared with me. I am a world away from where I was last year at this time and I look forward to the future with all of your friendships!
Nick! Last year at this time I never would have imagined meeting and falling for you. But I was beginning to be open to living my life in the truest way possible for me, and you collided with me at the right time. You've helped me and taught me it's ok to rely on someone again while still being able to hold on and honor my past. More thankful I could not be :)
I could thank for hours but the last people I'll thank this year that I'm sure I barely acknowledged last year are me best friends Husbands: Pat, Rick, and Ryan. In the last year I've seen amazing friends shine with love ad they've committed the rest of their lives to you. Although it's sometimes hard to balance friends and your significant other I am so glad that these women have found men who allow them to experience joy and love that can only come from you. Keep it up!!
I hope everyone has a holiday filled with love, warmth, memories and laughter, and of couse some thanksgiving!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Brave Girl's Club- Seeing past what it seems
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I feel misunderstood because I don't understand where I am.
It bothers me so much that it bothers me at all. That makes zero sense.
Things with Mike were so easy. It's hard to say now because looking back of course it seems magical and heavenly and nothing short of a miracle. We were blissfully ignorant of the way life could be and we stumbled into something terrific. Now I am happy again, but because of what I know it can't be that way. It gives me a different appreciation and thankfulness for Nick and how he must feel to jump into this and be a part of something more difficult than he may have been looking for.
I may be relying too much on other people in similar situations to create my identity. I know so few and I can't keep looking around for other examples. I'm over following the examples of someone else to validate what I am doing. Why do I need this validation?! I am ok where I am and there intrinsically no problems.
I'm tired of trying so hard to "be myself". That shouldn't be difficult. I swear that I will try my hardest to stop thinking and looking and dissecting so much and just follow what I feel inside.
Maybe there is a chance I can be blissfully happy with change, with the unknown, and let go of the judgements I am somehow putting on myself. It's worth a try :)
Friday, November 5, 2010
Things were simple then. I'd experience pain, either big or small, call for my parents, and they'd come and take care of me. Once they got there I didn't have to worry, I laied my worries on them. They made things better for me as I fell into a safe, easy place.
Growing pains follow you. Currently I am at a place I didn't think I would be with someone who hasn't been here before. This makes for long, interesting discussions and spending too much time inside my head searching for an answer. I know their aren't answers to everything, but I miss the time when there were. But things aren't simple. Life isn't black and white. I'm ok with living in the gray, working through the mush, struggling to a solution that we can live with.
Although I miss the simple times, the growing pains are worth it. Living is worth it.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
22048 HRVATIN, STACEY F26
Army 10 Miler complete! :) Let me recap for you. Friday was an extremely bad day, sort of out of nowhere. Other people interfering in my healing process cause me to wonder what the heck I am supposed to do because no matter what I do someone has got something to say. Although I hit a little rough patch and was not looking forward to the extremely active weekend, Nick said one of the sweetest things. I was talking with him on the phone emoting how I just didn't know what to do anymore. "I can say with complete confidence, you continue to do what you are doing." Ah, just what I needed.
So I get ready Saturday morning and we get to the airport hop on our plane take a one-hour bumpy flight into Baltimore, bus from the airport to the rental car building, rent the car, stop for a healthy Panera lunch, ride into DC to the Armory to pick up our packets. It was overwhelming because of the sheer amount of people there at the Expo. Amanda and I got our packets with our bibs and our awesome long sleeve t-shirt and browse the fun gear. Next we head to our hotel, through A LOT of DC construction traffic. We checked in, freshened up, and headed to one of Mike's friends (from officer training) in-laws house. It was a good night of catching up, getting the 411 on this race, carbing up and consuming large amounts of water.
Laying down to sleep I started to get very nervous I would be claustrophobic during the race. Once my mind calmed down the 5:15 am alarm came nice and early. We got up and got ready, ate a Powerbar, drank some Gatorade and off we went. We were in the second group to start so we followed the time schedule and then lined up to start. Nervous nervous! Once we started it was great. I was also worried I would hate running without my ipod (because I DO hate running without my ipod) but I hardly even noticed. We had a great pace and Amanda was a very motivating running partner. There is one part of the course when you retrace the way you previously went so while we were running approx the 5th mile there were people on the other side of the road running the 7th back toward the end. When we hit the 8th mile I was not sure my legs would make it. My muscles felt very fatigued. I knew I would finish, I just wanted to slow down. I let Amanda get ahead of me for a while and I would keep an eye on her and if she got too far I would hustle closer to her. At one point I told her to go ahead and I'd meet her at the finish line. "Nope," she said calmly, "we're doing this together." So I grabbed some energy from somewhere and we hit the last mile. The best part was coming around that last curve, seeing all the spectators, and finding the people with our matching t-shirts, cheering for us! Then the last straight away we both just looked at each other and sprinted (or what we had left of a sprint). Crossed the finish line holding hands, hugged after that, we did it! Then we were corralled into the banana/water/spectator area. Found our friends, took some pictures, waited for a few more of our party to finish.
I ran with garb all over me. Our shirts were in honor of Mike, I had my AWP pin on my shoe so that when I looked down I could focus on all of us who have done this exhausting race in real life. I had both Mike's dog tags and Nick's dog tags tucked in safe keeping, and my mother's cross around my neck. I needed to draw strength from everyone that day.
I'm sad I didn't meet up with some of my friends that were in town for the race or other things that day. Little bit of a bummer, but after the race I was so exhausted and we just didn't have much time. We also stopped by Arlington because Mike's mom and sister wanted to see section 60. I showed them some spots that belong to husbands of my friends, and we were amazed at the amount of new plots with plastic markers and no headstones yet. Hard to fathom how recently they were walking this earth. I was sobering but an appropriate wrap up to the weekend, reminding us why we did this race.
More pictures of the actual race to come!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I was just talking with a widow friend last night and explaining that everything just seems more complicated now. Having a relationship is difficult to begin with and this suitcase of baggage that I am not willing to give up does not make it easier. Not that that is what Mike is to me, just what losing him has given me. The two men who notified me should have just brough me biggest one they could find and said "here you go- you're gonna take this everywhere from here on out." I am happy that I can have really great (sometimes repeated becasue I need to hash everything out) discussions about the things I'm feeling uncomfortable with because I know that that is something I need to have if someone plans to be with me. Sometimes those differing opinions sting because they hit so deep.
In other news-- The Army 10-Miler is Sunday! WOOOO! I am ready, I am a runner, I am going to finish this race, and it is going to be awesome. (This is what I repeat to myself throughout the days now.) I am excited to experience the race, the atmosphere, the whole thing. I'm very nervous. While I was running yesterday I decided that I just need to remember to keep my head up and take everything in. I could care less about my time, just that I finish the race. I know physically I can run ten miles without dying. So I'm there for the experience; to meet the thousands of other people and know their stories; to tell them about Mike; to meet some fellow widows who I've never met in person; to share this with Mike's sister Amanda, and his mom and friends; to look around and realize I'm running past the Capitol or the Washington Monument. To cross that freaking finish line and feel a little bit more (*bad ass*) proud of myself! :)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I have met someone who I didn't think existed. That's really the best way for me to put it. He's jumped on my crazy train and has been a very sturdy source of support for me. Without diving into all the specific details of Nick (unless you want to hear them, ha) he has patience beyond measure and has walked forward with me and then taken a pause when I throw up my arms and tell him I'm too overwhelmed and things need to slow down. I very rarely look into the future. It doesn't matter what or how much I plan because life has it's own plan. Nick is a planner. I think it's something he was born with but his career dictates that he maintain that point of view. Nick's in the army.
Now you see. How did this happen? What is my deal? So these are the things occupying my mind lately.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Mandy Deatest asked:
1. If you could pick one year of your life that you would say is the best, what year would it be?
Holy cow I do not know. The entire year of 2007 is the only whole year I knew and loved Mike while he was here with me so I'll pick that one.
2. Is there one place, no matter how far, that you wish you could run away to?
I wish when I want to run away I could go to my parent's house circa 1990. When I was young and it was safe and they could fix everything.
3. How did you and your lovie meet? (Most of of my blog peeps are my widsters, and I love hearing these stories!)
Mike and I met through friends on a random Fris
Friday night and once we started talking I never wanted to stop. That's the simple version :)
4. If you could find out how you are going to die, would you?
No I'm Slightly afraid I wouldn't live then.
5. If you had the choice of mind reading or knowing the future, what would you pick and why?
Im going with mind reading only because it would be a benefit to me at that moment. And it'd be neat.
6. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
Peace. For my family. For my friends. For the world. And for me.
7. Can you unwrap a Starburst with your tongue?
Hells ya. Practiced in like 7th grade
8. Are you afraid of dying?
No I am not. Obviously I've got someone warming up the party for me ;)
Ok now for my Lovely Allison:
1. If you could have lunch with any famous person who would it be and why?
I'm bad at small talk and I'd say dumb stuff like "I love your commercials" (haha) or something but I would love to have lunch with any US President, past or present.
2. Describe your dream house.
On a lake, with a big back porch and rocking chairs. Losts of wood. Really amazing kitchen because if were not outside in the lake or on the porch were in the kitchen. The best master bathroom ever. So much room and a big tub and corner shower. Yes :)
3. If you could start your life all over again, would you change anything? why or why not?
No I don't think I would becasue if I change something I am afraid it would lead to some other change down the road that maybe wasn't what a I would want.
4. When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
5. What are your favorite stores to shop at?
Hmm target, tj Maxx, marshalls, pier one, world market, banana republic
6. What is your favorite holiday?
This one is difficult for me because it's completely changed. I think maybe new years eve and day because it's a celebration and chance to start again in whatever way you want.
7. Describe your perfect day.
Oh man. I can't even begin to imagine what would encompass my 'perfect day'
8. Please list your favorite TV show, movie, and band.
My favortie TV show is Friends. I watch it in reruns anytime I see that it's on :) My favorite movie depends on my mood. I enjoy Pretty Woman, Walk the Line, Wedding Crashers, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Favorite Band = Dave Matthews Band although lately my taste is still evolving. They are a long-time love of mine and I try to stay loyal!
Ok I'm not tagging anyone because I'm pretty sure everyone I follow has been tagged. Love you all- sorry it took me a little while to get to the surveys!
Monday, September 20, 2010
What do you do that I haven't done?
What if I have to carry the weight of this all my life?
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I walked outside today with Lily feeling a little heavy, or a little lazy, or a little of both. I'm struck by the weather and I immediately think, "This is what it was like." The funny thing about that thought is that I don't really remember what it was like outside in those days after we found out Mike was gone. I remember being in the Medder's backyard a lot, so it couldn't have been that cold. I remember the day he came home was the same weekend that Avon Lake had their homecoming football game and dance, how ironic. I remember the day of the funeral the funeral director, Bob, talking with my parents about how I wouldn't be warm enough outside in my dress, and they said they brought a coat. He mentioned that I was already shaking, and I turned around and said "It's not from the weather." I remember shaking a lot, but I don't ever remember being cold. Is it weird that he came back home to the weather that was his favorite. To the season he had missed the most? The first fall he was gone I took pictures of leaves and trees and our porch in the fall and sent them to him so that he could get a little taste. I remember him telling me he appreciated that, but that he'd rather I send pictures of me, ha. Football season was his favorite. Ohio State, the Browns, Avon Lake, and old stories, he loved that sport for all the amazing memories it gave him. Now it was wrapping up his life.
It feels so long ago. This week at dinner I was telling a friend that I remember being 4 months out and knowing of people at the 2 year mark and beyond and thinking I had no clue how I would make it that far. Most days now it all feels like a distant memory. I'm comfortable with how I think and feel now, even though it is so different from what I expected. How did I become comfortable with such an unfamiliar way of life. I couldn't believe it when it was happening, and I can't believe it now looking back. It was a time in my life that I'm still sure should have been a movie, not the real thing.
I will be blunt, ha. I am ultra-sensitive this time of year. I feel like many important people in my life are gone, or in a new, less-reoccurring role, and asking so much of me. On this second year I have found that I need everyone to remember that no matter how far I am from the day that Mike was killed I will always have a difficult time with that anniversary.
Every single year.
That may be hard to realize, or that may not make sense but it's my truth.
Monday, August 30, 2010
In the midst of my excitement I forgot to remember what we were remembering that day. We were not just running a race to run a race. And so before the race began, gold star families from the area were recognized. We talked all about how we should never forget. How we are each running a mile for every service member that has been lost. How those we have known, even just as an acquaintance, should always be remembered for their sacrifice. I stood in that crowd, not the small group of gold star families, but as part of the mass of people. Some required to be there by their superior officers, or were doing a group activity, or were support their spouse by jogging along side.
I sat there, mesmerized into the cloud of people with their running gear and race t-shirts, unsure how to acknowledge that I had more than just an acquaintance I was running for.
So we began the run, and all I kept thinking, however trivial, was how I wished I had brought my AWP t-shirt and was wearing that so that people knew, and I could spread the word if need-be. Oh, and of course REPRESENT and draw strength from my ladies. But alas, as I stated earlier, my excited little brain forgot to prepare for this race.
We began to run, masses of people, dogs, strollers, down a gravel path then up a road. Slightly unorganized and a little chaotic but nothing my trained mind for positive self talk couldn't get me out of. I can do this.
Up the hill, around a little bend. We're talking to friends, I'm losing my breath.
I begin to feel this small, deeply buried ball of swirling anger that burns in the way I expect the sun to burn, with hopping lava spots and a bright, hot core. It swells, my positive self talk is drowning, and I can't bring back my calm, rational, running-trained brain and the things I know to be true about me and my running. It always starts off rough, I get warmed up, and if I'm having fun I can knock out mile on top of mile without hesitation. But into the rough is all the farther I got before the anger got to me.
I slow down, deciding I'll do it on my own. Separate from the pack and get serious. Nick looks back and slows a little to stay with me. "You ok?" I nod yes. "Want water?" I nod no. I also know that if I stop, it is very very difficult for me to begin again.
I don't know exactly when, but I'm suddenly overwhelmed by the chanting. Now even just sitting here typing this, the chanting stirs up such madness in me that I can't believe I didn't freak on someone as the troops swallowed me into their formations and passed by on either side. So running, swallowed by these drones, I look forward, fuming. Nick looks back, and lets them know they need to shift right.
I have a little space, but the chanting fucks with my head on so many levels. I didn't expect this. I didn't expect any of this. But I will not quit. Deep breaths. We hit the turn around point, and I slow even more. I don't even know at this point how many troops have swallowed me and spit me out. The thought of it happening again is all that is in my head.
Keep going. Keep going.
The stress makes my brain think in ways I can't control as well as I'd like. I can't do it. My stomach hurts. My head is throbbing. I want to cry but I can't even figure out how. I tell Nick I have to walk. I walk. He walks beside me. I tell him it's ok, he can finish, go ahead. "I'm not leaving you."
So we walk. I wanted to get the cry out, then begin to run again. but I couldn't find it. I knew it was there and I couldn't get it out. We walked for longer than I liked. Longer than he liked too. Then we ran again, slowly, but I knew I could finish at that pace. "See the stadium? We're almost there."
We finished and I looked up at the race clock that said something like 35:00. Awesome time. I walk into the grass. "Stace. Stace!" I walk to the shade. I need to sit in the grass in the shade. That's all I need right now. "I need the shade!" I sit. Nick goes to look for water. I put my head down.
I didn't expect that. I should have been prepared.
We catch our breath, walk back to the truck, drink the water we had there. We are both disgruntled about different things, but we agree that at least we did it. It was for the Fallen. That's a cause close to our hearts.
P.S. also, check off Breakfast at Tiffany's :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I am making an effort to remember that I do not need to waste energy on what people say or think about me, but invest that energy into doing what is truly me. The authentic version of myself is all I can be.
I want to share a FANTASTIC blog with you by one of my most inspiring and intelligent friends. It's called Principles of Uncertainty. She began the blog as a list of things she wanted to accomplish, some big, some small, some in all shapes and sizes. I thought it was a great way to remind yourself of the things you want to do and keep track of the great things you've done lately. I follow this blog, and also began a list of my own for some of the same reasons. You will see that my list is set up in much of the same way that she used (cough, cough: exact same). Today I will share some of the items on my list with you :) I'll keep you updated when I accomplish any of these.
Oh the places you’ll go:
1. Visit the Grand Canyon
2. Visit Greece
3. Visit Seattle (2/12/2010)
4. Visit somewhere in Colorado
5. Visit Amanda Fedunok in PA (Dec 2008)
6. Visit Jenny and Pat in Arizona
7. Visit Adam and Katie in Kansas (Jan 1, 2010)
8. Visit Tatiana in Jacksonville, FL (Jan 29, 2010)
9. Take AWP Trip (Jan 29-Feb 1, 2010)
10. Visit Matt in Cincy (August 18, 2010)
11. Visit Justina’s new house(April 28th, 2010)
12. Travel to FL once the Medder’s have a condo (2/20/2010)
13. Take a picture along Rt 66
14. Take a meditation/yoga retreat
Train the Brain
1. Learn some more about Wine
2. Learn to drive a manual transmission vehicle
3. Work on remembering names
4. Do a proper push-up. And then be able to do 25 in a row.
6. Take a creative writing class (started 12/1/09)
7. Back to school- CSU
Home, Sweet Home
1. Paint the master bathroom (10/11/09-- but must be redone)
2. Final touches on the master bathroom
4. Find and purchase New bedding that I really like (1/10/2010) and again (8/11/2010)
5. Purchase a new bed frame (4/5/2010)
6. Put the flag pole back up (11/18/09)
7. Purchase, frame and hang “men on the beam” picture in the kitchen
8. Re-do the kitchen
9. Paint/organize/clean/decorate laundry room
10. Get the couch cleaned (3/30/2010)
11. Downstairs bathroom ceiling fixed
16. Organize garage closet
17. Organize kitchen ‘pantry’- can we use it as a pantry!? (May 2010)
18. New light in the stairwell hallway (May 2010)
19. New light in kitchen hallway
Just because I want to
1. Go to every class type at bally’s, just to try it.
2. Shoot a gun
3. Run a race (5K, 10K, whatever)—Registered for Army 10Miler Ocotober 24, 2010
4. Watch AWP video (11/29/09)
6. Skydive ( AWP get away- 5/20/2010)
7. Go whitewater rafting
8. Meet Casie for dinner (finally! June 23, 2010)
9. Go to a group counseling session (12/9/09)
10. Write my will
11. Get a financial advisor – met Shelia 11/17/09
12. Get my rings insured
13. Swim with Dolphins (Jan 30, 2010)
14. Watch “Breakfast at Tiffanys”
15. Re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird”
16. Read “Catch 22”
17. Donate blood 2x
18. Volunteer somewhere with Animals
19. Volunteer (Feb 2, 2010- current at Boys and Girls Club)
20. Eat MahiMahi (Jan 30, 2010)
21. Spend 24 hours straight outside
1. Update my resume (Jan 22, 2010)
2. Send 1 article to TAPS magazine (sent April 6, 2010)
3. Get published somewhere other than TAPS
4. Start a business, and keep track financially (April 2010)
3. Teach Lily to “roll over”
4. Teach Lily to “be quiet”
5. Be active with Lily to keep her at or within 1lb of 27lbs
There you go- red ones are done as of the date beside them. I'm doing pretty well :)
P.S. I promise to keep up with the blogging!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
1 year 10 months 7 days
Now I know that is a lot of days, but when I read the number I really feel like I've been though at least double that. I mean some days seem so long, especially at the begining. It didn't really make me upset to see the number but it made me realize how close we are coming to the 2 year mark. I knew it was right around the corner but see that breakdown made me nervous for that event. I have already decided that this year's September 24, 25 will be much more calm than last years, at the very least. I have a problem the night of the 24th (when he passed) into the morning of the 25th (when we found out). At least that was my big moment last year. Anyway, not the point of this post...
I got curious to see how many days Mike and I knew each other. We were nearing our 2 year anniversary when everything happened.
1 year 10 months 28 days.
That hurts me more. I know that my relatinship with Mike has only changed now and I feel more secure in that fact (now more than ever) but that one slaps me in the face. I want more time. We want more time. Really? That's it? When the other number keeps growing and this number is frozen... that doesn't seem fair. I didn't know we were that close to the crossover. That close to the day when he will have been gone longer than we knew each other. Wow, time can be so tricky.
Calculating something>> here's the site
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Things have been better. I had a great 4-day weekend with some of my truest friends and we talked more than I have in the last month, I'm sure. Sometimes I sit back and listen. I listen and evaluate to see if I feel the same way, or differently, or if my saying anything would benefit the conversation. Sometimes I sit back and listen just to take it all in, rather than try to formulate what I want to say next. I had a much-needed great time, especially following a not-so-good night when it hit me that it was the last day I saw Mike. I remember thinking this weekend "I'm really going to be ok." I can see the future, even if it is only the rest of the year, shaping up to be decent. I can see Mike being proud of me. I can see more smiles and happy times through the next several months. I haven't really thought that before. I haven't thought "This could be a real life. I could do this. If I keep these women around me, I can do it."
If I keep these women around me I can do it. And when I can't, I can fall on them. They will help me.
So the pain, in most moments, is less intense. One thing that still causes me pain are the things that Mike didn't get to do. More specifically the children we didn't get to have. When I say "He wanted to be a dad so bad" I wish I could convey the gravity of it. It was one of the biggest things he looked forward to. Talking about it for me was something wayyyy in the future, after we got ourselves and our plan together. For him, it lit up his eyes. Right then, at the moments we would talk about it, he'd get so excited he could hardly stand it. It makes me sad that those people will never be. The people he would have made will never walk this earth. His children would have so much to be happy for, so much to be proud of. It is very difficult to let go of those amazing people, the ones I saw us parenting. When I lost Mike, I never wanted to think of children again. No children but the children we would have had. I can't see it any differently. I miss him and I miss them, and I'm sad that I couldn't do that for him.
So when I see this family and all the beauty that comes from their stories it takes me back there, and as I heal these broken parts that can't really be fixed, I am learning how to deal with the pain that resides.
(note- in all actuality, I could be talking about several families, all smashed into one)
Monday, July 19, 2010
See... here's where I take an unplanned break- because that sentence is all I need. It's all I need. I feel it. Once I typed it, put it in real words, I know it and I know how true it is. And never for a second do I feel that living my life is something Mike would be upset about. It is difficult to live my life now, and not the one we pictured. It makes my heart ache that he can't live out all the things he dreamed of doing. Those thoughts make me sad. But I know I have him right here with me, happy that I'm strong enough to venture out again. That he made me strong enough, courageous enough, and unlocked the feeling of love inside of me, so that I am able to venture out again.
Anyway, I say that sentence is all I need to remember and that is so true, but I have been worried lately about the approval of friends. Weird, because I know that true friends want nothing but me to be happy as well. Why do I consume myself with the negative thoughts that may (or may not) come from those around me? Why is it somewhere in my head I feel like I'm leaving him behind? One of my friends describes it as swimming against the current, having to turn around, swim back, and bring him forward with me. I probably butchered that but hopefully the analogy makes sense. Maybe it's not that I actually feel like I'm leaving him behind, but that I feel like I have to prove to everyone that I'm not. I think everyone expects that he gradually moves from my life, and since the day he passed I have had this thought in my head that I will show them, I will show them all. Why do I think I must prove these things? Who must I prove them too?? This is not somewhere I've been before and not something I've worried about before, not something I've ever planned to worry about.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I was open to new possibilites.
I began to take new risks, meet new people, think about my future (even if it was only a month in advance). I began to rejoin conversations with my new friends, really ask how they deal, really get to know them. I was able to grow up, see that sometimes the things you rely on aren't perfect. That's hard, it's still hard for me. In this growing you learn to trust yourself and you become strong.
There are still bad days, grumpy moments, things I can't shake no matter how hard I try. There are still things that hit me out of nowhere and knock me to my knees. But I know when to take a day off, tap out, and start again tomorrow. I start again. I call my friends (thats right, on the phone!) they walk me though it. I express what I'm feeling and I allow myself to feel that way.
Dolphins, Jumping out of air planes, meeting best friends I'd only talked to online, experienced Memorial Day in DC, met some famous people, talked to a few magazines, taken writing classes, lost 2 jobs, got a dog and a tattoo, started a business, traveled a little and had my heart lifted. Watch out life, I'm not hiding anymore.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
"Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effort, without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well." ~Henry Scott Holland
Saturday, June 26, 2010
(completely stolen pic)
Friday, June 25, 2010
The day was hot and sticky but wonderful. It was filled with stories, drinks, family, friends, memories, steaks, cigars and raffle prizes... and a little golf on the side :) Unfortunately I am not sure of the final numbers but we were able to raise more money than last year. We had more than once hole sponsor for every hole, some had 3. All the money we raised from the raffle went to the Wounded Warrior Project. It all went spectacular.
A big thank you to all of you who were able to throw your support, time, money and love to us by helping out in one way or another! Couldn't be done without you!
p.s. there is a video of my keg stand, and if I can get ahold of it, I will for sure post it for you :)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
And I just hear this part of a Joshua Radin song repeating in my head
"So I crawl underneath my blanket
Where I can hide away,
I know I can't take it
'Cause I see now, it's just one of those days"
I was bargaining with my life last night, as I often find myself doing. So I start by talking about all the things I'd rather do. (of course at the end you come to "I'd rather do anything.")
I'd have another kidney stone.
I'd have a kidney stone everyday.
I'd live in a shack with no electric, no air, no cable, no phone. And no running water. If you could be there.
I'd live in mud. Or snow.
I'd rather do 2 deployments, back to back.
No. 5 deployments.
I'd go 3 years without seeing you if I knew you'd come back.
No I'd go 10.
then I literally think to myself,
I would go an unlimited amount of time without seeing you if I knew I got to be with you forever.
There it is.
Then I realize. That's what I'm doing.
And I laugh. Damn. I just tricked myself into saying I would do what I'm doing, just for you.
Isn't that a crazy realization?
"One Of Those Days" Joshua Radin
"Wait right here"
Is all she said to me
And so right here I stay
Time has reached our home
And I've been left alone
It's carried her away
And everyone keeps saying,
"Nothing helps but time"
Time is all I own
And time won't stop replaying
Over in my mind
I watch the hours slow down
So I crawl underneath my blanket
Where I can hide away,
I know I can't take it
'Cause I see now, it's just one of those days
Now a year has passed
Alone I stay inside
And I await the rain
To wash away your face
So I don't have to hide
The sight of you is painful
So I crawl underneath my blanket
Where I can hide away,
I know I can't take it anymore
'Cause I see now, it's just one of those days
And I can't stop seeing your face
I can't stop seeing your face every place
So I crawl underneath my blanket
Where I can hide away,
I know I can't take it anymore
'Cause I see now, it's just one of those days
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
So I'm lonely. Lonely without my beautiful AWP friends, lonely without my love, lonely without the few people outside those categories that I would like to be with.
I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
- Og Mandine
Friday, June 4, 2010
I'm mad in very unfair ways. I am mad at people for nothing. I'm mad that I am alone again. I am mad that somehow to do things that make me happy I have a series of strings I have to pull at just the right angle, get everything set up just so, so that no one ever thinks I'm doing the wrong thing. When in the world did I begin to care so much about what other people thought? Why does everything that happens piss me off? Why do I feel like I always find myself thinking things should happen different ways? People talk and I sit there and squirm. People are pulling away, and they should. Their lives and my life just aren't the same. I can't fake it. I try, I try to go with the flow but it doesn't make sense to me. So many things seem so absolutely pointless compared to the things that should matter. I just want to scream- Those stupid things do not matter! They don't! Everyone has forgotten. Not everyone. Some. I'm angry.
No matter what I do I can't bring him back. I just want him back. I want him to see the new bedroom furniture. I want him to help me move shit back into the guest bedroom. I want to stop avoiding certain spots in my house because I've left it that way since the day I knew he wasn't coming home. So much is different and I just want him here for it. We just wanted a normal life. I don't even have wedding memories to hang on to. I can't wear my rings on any fucking finger without someone having an opinion about it. The worst part is I don't even know where I want to wear them. Wearing them where they should be makes me mad we didn't get that. Wearing them where I have them now makes me mad that that's not where they belong. I'm so tired of trying to explain every single action I take. I am tired of trying to figure out what Mike would want or what Mike would say. I just want him to be here and do what he would want or say what he would say. It's not my job to figure it out. If I could conjure up what Mike is in my mind it wouldn't be truly him anyway. It would be him based on what I thought. That's not what I want. I want him based on him, rooted in him, and only him. He's the only one who can be that. Now I'm just rambling...
Ups and downs.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
So I absolutely have to write about this Memorial Day weekend. I've been finding it difficult to put any of what we did into a simple blog post. We did so much and I could recap only the physical details. More than that I was able to feel so much, but what we feel is hard to describe in just words.
I left Friday morning and the entire 6 hour drive to DC I kept thinking I should have left earlier, several of my friends were already there. We met up and just talked in the hotel room for a while before getting ready for dinner. I was able to meet Glenda before dinner, which was such an honor! We did dinner at the hotel and then headed to the Vietnam memorial to find her husband Bruce’s name on the wall. There were members of the Rolling Thunder everywhere when we got there and rain was poring down. We fit all the ladies under 3 umbrellas and took off to search for the name. Minutes after we found his name the bagpipes began, Amazing Grace. It was an instant reaction for us as we grabbed each other and our tears joined the rain. After amazing grace, they played Taps. No one moved. Then big hugs for all of us. We tried to fix our makeup and get some pictures with Bruce’s name. As we walked out of the memorial I was searching for a friend, trying to check out all the faces in the crowd, looking for blond, looking for Kim. I found her, snuck over and we hugged. She said hi to all the girls and we were all able to chat for a bit. We met and shared the pins we wear with another widow that our PBS man, Jim, knew, then headed into a cab to Georgetown. We spent some time talking, laughing and drying off at the restaurant then went back to the hotel bar for some drinks and pool games. As we got to the hotel Allison spotted Lt. Dan. The Lt. Dan, Gary Sinise. Jim got him to come over and meet us, along with Dennis Haysbert and Joe Mantegna. We were all flabbergasted and trying to act cool, like this is something we do everyday. Each one of them took the time to get to know us and we took some pictures.
I was able to meet Tatitana’s mom who is so similar to her, it’s beautiful! She has such a high energy and she was hanging out with us from time to time. It gave me insight to where one of my best friends comes from. Some of Allison’s family was there and it was so nice to be able to share some time, especially with her (slightly famous) father. Taryn’s parents were also there and they are clearly very special people.
Saturday was very emotional for all of us, we began in Arlington at the Kennedy wreath laying. We then went to Section 60 where the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans rest. Brooke and Kim both have their Love’s buried there and to see them in their intimate moments was a privilege for me. We decorated Frankie’s spot and all touched a rose before we left it with him. We left roses for Warren, and told him his girl is in our hands and we've got her back! We were also able to talk with some of the other people paying their respects, leave them flowers, and thank them for what they've given. Some of the women we know were not able to be there with us so we searched the area and took pictures, laid roses and delivered any messages. There were also several spots we just had to stop and admire. Pictures adorned wreathes, put in frames, taped on the back, left with loved ones to represent them or catch them up on their lives. It was very touching.
After we left Arlington I was drained, hungry, hot, tired and I lost it a little on the phone with my mom. I couldn't get over how many people were buried there, across the whole cemetery, and in Section 60 alone. I know the pain that it has caused our group of women, our families, and so many of us weren't there. I couldn't imagine the amount of pain that was spread throughout that cemetery and how far it reached. I was worried about things back here, and not being here for Mike this Memorial Day. My mother assured me that I am honoring his legacy and living how he would live, which is exactly what I needed.
We ate some lunch, hung out a little longer; I got some hugs to pull me out of my fall for the moment. Then we got a tour of the Capital. After the tour we got ready for a dinner at Clyde’s with our PBS friends and it was delicious. That night we planned to do a little self-led night walking tour. I ended up opting out of the tour to talk to one of Mike’s friends and it was a good conversation. We shared some memories, and we were able to share that we are both still hurting, and that’s ok. I was really comforted after the phone call and I could feel Mike being proud and happy. Overwhelmed, I went to bed early and caught up on sleep.
The next day we had some quality time at the eastern market and then began getting ready for the Memorial Day concert. We were lucky enough to get transported over to the concert early and sit in our reserved seats in the 1st and 2nd rows! The concert was amazing, especially that close. I feel so lucky to have been part of this weekend. If you missed the concert there are two clips below.
Brad Paisley- Then- National Memorial Day Concert
AJ Cook and Blythe Danner- Taryn and Glenda's story
These are the details of this weekend. The feelings that accompanied me are more than I can tap into right now...
Monday, May 24, 2010
Watch, DVR, Tape record if necessary. I'll be there.
AND I can't wait to meet up with some fellow widdows, sharin' the love :)
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
CPT Michael J. Medders
I was so happy. For 3 whole days, I was so happy. I didn't worry about what jewlery I had on, or what I said, or how I said it, or who was comfortable, or who was uncomfortable. I just was, and I laughed a lot, and it was happiness. There were moments when my stomach would drop and I would remember that I couldn't call Mike and tell him about the beautiful people I was meeting and how they were helping me. I couldn't tell him the funny joke the man told on the way up in the airplane (Did you hear the one about the seal? So a seal walked into a bar... haha). I jumped out of an airplane- and I can't tell him, and I can't show him pictures. When we were up in the sky and all I could see were clouds my body was shaky but my heart was not. Push me to the edge- I've been there in every other way. Now I got to jump without any repurcussion. I kissed my hand and put it up to the window. This is the closest I'll be without anything around me- I love you baby.
It was amazing. Jumping 13,500 feet flying at 120mph for 60 seconds before my bud Roy opened the parachute...wow. I really really cannot describe the jump in words and I'm not even going to try, but I can describe what I feel. After getting out of all the gear I had to get out of the little building because I was shaking with energy. I walked around outside, called a few friends and left a few messages, called mom, talked to dad, and sat down. No one around while everyone was around. I just sat and wondered if he knew. If he was proud. How many people did I need to tell to equal the feeling that telling him would give me? I don't know, I couldn't find it. It's moments like this that remind me that as much as I can do, I wish I could do it with him. Reguardless, I do feel a little more bad ass. Now I may be suffering from some widdow withdrawl.
The get away was very fullfilling. I had a great time and shared a million laughs, if not more. Made some new friends, celebrated birthdays, upcoming weddings, and the lives of those who are more than heros to us. Many thanks to the women of the AWP and all those who had a part in the golf outing fundraiser and skydive!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Something quite unexpected has happened. It came this morning early. For
various reasons, not in themselves at all mysterious, my heart was lighter than
it had been for many weeks. For one thing, I suppose I am recovering physically
from a good deal of mere exhaustion. And I'd had a very tiring but very healthy
twelve hours the day before, and a sounder night's sleep; and after ten days of
low-hung grey skies and motionless warm dampness, the sun was shining and there
was a light breeze. And suddenly at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H.
least, I remembered her best. Indeed it was something (almost) better than
memory; an instantaneous, unanswerable impression. To say it was like a meeting
would be going too far. Yet there was that in it which tempts one to use those
words. It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier.
Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation. I might have said, ‘He's got over it. He's forgotten his wife', when
the truth was, ‘He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.'
...Looking back, I see that only a very little time ago I was greatly concerned
about my memory of H. and how false it might become. For some reason - the
merciful good sense of God is the only one I can think of - I have stopped
bothering about that. And the remarkable thing is that since I stopped bothering
about it, she seems to meet me everywhere. Meet is far too strong a word. I
don't mean anything remotely like an apparition or a voice. I don't mean even
any strikingly emotional experience at any particular moment. Rather, a sort of
unobtrusive but massive sense that she is, just as much as ever, a fact to be
taken into account.
~C. S. Lewis